Sanford Hydroxychloroquine Trials Look ‘Promising’

Sanford has been running trials on the drugs, and they say it's a promising combination that could help fight the Coronavirus pandemic.

FARGO, N.D. – Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin, you’ve heard those words a lot in the news over the last few days. But what are they?

Sanford has been running trials on the drugs, and they say it’s a promising combination that could help fight the Coronavirus pandemic.

“My professional opinion is that Hydroxychloroquine and Azithromycin show a lot of promise. What many people are waiting for is not whether the drug has benefit or not, but what degree of benefit is there and which patients are most likely to benefit,” said David Leedahl, the Pharmacy Director for Sanford Fargo.

Hydroxychloroquine by itself is used to treat malaria, Lupus, arthritis, and a number of viral diseases.

Some clinical trials say that by adding in the antibiotic Azithromycin, a drug that fights a wide variety of infections ranging from pink eye to respiratory infections, they are seeing promising signs in treating COVID-19.

That claim is widely debated among the medical community.

“We first want to do no harm to patients. When you have mild illness, there is some thought that if you can blunt the response to the disease and get ahead of it with Hydroxychloroquine, then maybe you can decrease the severity and need for hospitalization for patients,” said Leedahl, “That has yet to be proven, but there are signals of that.”

The American College of Cardiologists and the University of Michigan warned against using the drug combination before further clinical trials could be done, as there was not enough data to prove that the drug worked, and the potential side effects could lead to severe problems with the heart.

Currently, Sanford’s trials are only limited to hospitalized patients, and they strongly recommend not to try the regiment at home.

“The reason that we really limit this to hospitalized patients is, number one, to not start therapy on someone where we believe that any risk would be greater than the potential benefit of the therapy,” said Leedahl, “And the other big thing to keep in mind is that we have continuous monitoring of these patients that would allow us to make adjustments to their therapy.”

While the verdict is still out there on whether or not the drug combination will be the breakthrough the medical community needs, Sanford is doing everything in there power to find a treatment that helps get the pandemic under control.

Categories: Coronavirus, Coronavirus-ND, Health, Local News, North Dakota News